Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The koward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!"
                     oscar wilde , the ballad of reading gaol

When was the last that I thought of you...I know not...but am I the one who goes alone on this path...and should I but care only a little for the souls that follow or those as march ahead?

Mode C is a way of life, perhaps my way of life: C for Cool, C for Cold, C for Chaos, C for Calvin. Ultimately, all of it boils down to the way you look at things. Are they not how they are but just how they appear?? No...and yes...Almost all the seriously critical fundamental concepts of life...aren't they just the bogies under Calvin's bed that he is afraid of? Miss Wormwood, Susie, Mom and Dad, and of course above all, Hobbes...aren't they all merely the means that he uses to attack these bogies?

Reflecting on 'living the Calvin way', I have started to believe that life and our reaction to it can only be explained by a number of Calvin and Hobbes strips combined together. The philosophy, as I like to call it, is to know that you are not alone. It is not just my perspective alone that is going to help me fight my bogies. I will be able to inch towards the Calvin way only when I perceive the other perspectives on my way.

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Saturday, November 13, 2004
Naach Naach ke Duniya Hila De

Berang Zindagi hai...raftaar chahiye

The above line sums up what goes wrong with RamGopal Verma's latest, Naach. The movie was made with very good intentions but soemwhere along the line, the writer, director and the screenplay people got lost.

Abhi is a struggling actor in the Hindi film industry who can do anything for fame, money and recognition in the movies. Rewa is a budding choreographer with a very strict set of rules and conducts that she will not compromise upon, not even for success and fame. Despite this basic difference in idealogies, the two characters come together in a bus as Abhi and Rewa are both coming back from a production office.

Abhi persuades Rewa to teach him dance, which he badly needs for his first break in the movies. While learning and teaching dance, Rewa and Abhi fall in love. Abhi becomes a big hit after his movie and achieves all that he ever wanted to. Rewa, however, is thrown out of the movie because of some petty reason. Before the audience could even think of all this leading to a happily ever after ending, comes the jolt. The idealogical differences between Abhi and Rewa come to a head and they decide to go their separate ways with some cruel words by Abhi marking the separation (somehow, the scene reminded me of Amitabh in Abhimaan).

As Abhi gets more and more busy with his movies and fans, Rewa does not let go of her ideals and ultimately succeeds as her work is recognized by Diwakar, a young director who launches Rewa in his music video. The video is immensely successful and Rewa becomes an overnight star. Diwakar launches a musical with Abhi and Rewa in the lead, little knowing the past story of the two. Being professionals, both of them carry on putting the garb till one fine day, when it becomes too much for the jealous Abhi who is not able to prevent seeing Rewa and Diwakar together from affecting his work.

As Abhi decides not to work for Diwakar's musical any more and breaks down in his proclamation of his pining for Rewa, the movie ends (rather abruptly, as Ravi says is the hallmark of Ramu movies) with Diwakar, too, declaring his love for Rewa and Rewa making the final choice.

The movie, as I said earlier, lacks speed. What it has in plenty, however, is realism. Right from the first bus scene where the conversation between the lead pair is interrupted periodically by the conductor's bells and the coming in/going out of passengers, to the scenes on the movie sets with aparent hits on candy-floss genre, the movie is as real as they come. Not that being realistic takes something away from the movie...rather, it only adds to it. However, all this realism needed to be at a pace where it made sense. The sluggish nature of the screenplay leaves hardly any scope to identify and appreciate the nuances that make Ramu such an acclaimed movie-maker.

At times, the sets and the costumes go over the board, too. The sleaze show that Antara Mali presents for the B-crowd starts getting to the head after some time, too. Instead of slowly appealing, as Urmila was in Rangeela, Antara tries too hard and does an overkill (yes, despite showing all flesh that she could probably have without the movie getting an A certificate). Abhishek, on the other hand, does not seem to be trying at all. Though the character does need the intense, brooding, and even arrogant part that Abhishek looks, there are ocassions when he plays it in too subdued a manner, which again adds to the overall sluggish and dull feel of the movie. Ritesh Deshmukh, as Diwakar, will surprise the audience with his credible peformance. After Masti, I had almost written off this actor who proves with this movie that he is made of sterner stuff. A very restrained, and to-the-tee performance should surely earn him some browney points.

The direction, as in all Ramu movies, is a little hatke. The shades of darkness and light are mixed to perfection, and so are the facial expressions in the dances and the scenes. Inspite of being based on dance, the movie surprisingly lacks good music (except one or two catchy numbers). Though the dance is there, it looks more of a gymnastic performance than dance. Given that dance, like gymnastics, requires fluidity of body, but does every step requires twisting your legs back in some sparingly believable postures? But then again, from the point of view of the choreographer, the movie's dance steps might look, nothing against them as I do not have enough expertise or even knowledge to talk about this area.

The typical Diwali movie-goer who is looking for a bit of all-in-one, will be disappointed with Naach. Although he will get more than his dose of sleaze, he will, in all probability, find the movie a little too heavy and dull and slow. Despite some very interesting scenarios that could have been built in the story (especially when the movie starts with Abhi and Rewa in the lead), the screenplay fails to capitalize on them and disappoints the public. The domain experts (that is the dancers, choreographers, et al) will probably like the bits and pieces, but even they will not be satisfied with the overall effect. As for the parallel cinema enthusiasts, it would be difficult for even them to appreciate this half-escapist, half-realistic movie.

Posted at 07:08 pm by Nitai

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